In 2001 Valentino Rossi stayed with the Nastro Azzurro Honda team and rode the Honda NSR500.
Valentino also continued with the Sun and Moon theme on his official helmets, but for this season he made a change and rotated the positions of each around.
His previous helmet featured the Sun and Moon on either side of the helmet, but in 2001 an orange sun on a yellow background (with the number ’46’ faded multiple times into the background) appeared at the front of Rossi’s official helmet, complete with a cartoon face staring forwards above the visor. The orange rays of the sun zig-zagged back across the top of the helmet towards the rear. Towards the back of the helmet the yellow background faded into a dark blue night sky that featured a crescent moon with a more friendly face than Rossi has used on previous moon designs. As always, Rossi had “Tribu Dei Chihuahua” printed above the visor.
In his autobiography “What if I had never tried it” (Amazon), Valentino Rossi explains the origin and meaning of “‘The Chihuahua Tribe’. “The Chihuahua were a tribe of North American Indians, and our gang of friends is called the ‘Tribu dei Chihuahua!'”
The 2001 Sun and Moon helmet design and layout were fairly consistent throughout the season, with Rossi keeping the basic layout when using one-off special helmets for events like Mugello and Brazil. For such races the design and colouring were radically different, but the basic positioning and layout remained the same.
Image Gallery of AGV Sun and Moon Official 2001 Rossi Helmet: